Since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, China has stayed out of the international condemnation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, refusing to use the term “invasion” to describe Russia’s actions.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on April 14, said that China’s lack of consistency in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is putting it in an uncomfortable position and damaging its international reputation.
Blinken made the remarks while taking part in a video conference on “21st Century Diplomacy and Global Challenges” at the University of Michigan on April 14, answering China’s neutrality in the Russian-Ukrainian war.
According to Blinken, before Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a 5,000-word joint statement with Chinese President Xi Jinping, highlighting their partnership without limits.
Blinken added, “Well, I think to some extent those limits, in fact, are actually being tested right now because China is in a challenging position,” adding that China repeatedly said that its policies are based on upholding the UN Charter and the principles that underlie it.
Blinken said that these principles and charters that China claimed to uphold are “being challenged right now by Russia’s aggression.” He asked China to defend the principles that this country purports to espouse.
The Secretary of State went on, “I think it’s in an increasingly uncomfortable position precisely because there is a huge disconnect between what it purports to stand for and what it’s actually doing with regard to Russia’s aggression,” adding, “I think that’s having a big impact on its reputation around the world, in many parts of the world from Africa to the Middle East to Asia itself.”
He noted that because of those factors mentioned above, China should decide its stance on the Russian- Ukrainian war.
Blinken pointed out that U.S. President Biden had a video chat with Chinese leader Xi Jinping a few weeks ago. The U.S. side made it clear that it is carefully watching whether China supports Russia’s war effort in any way.
In the end, he said that “This is not about siding with the United States. It’s about sliding right versus wrong; it’s about siding with the basic principles of the international system or for chaos and conflict. And ultimately, China has to choose.”